Regardless of why you need to remove the chuck from your drill press, it’s just something that has to be done sometimes. It could be damaged in a number of different ways, dirty and stuck and difficult to adjust so you take it off to clean, or if it seems like it’s getting loose and you want to investigate…
Here’s exactly how to remove a drill press chuck, and how to put it back in place after, ensuring that it’s safe and secure.
It’s not a bad idea to pop off the chuck every now and then as part of your routine maintenance of your tools, mostly to give it a good cleaning, depending on how often you use your tools and how dusty and dirty your workshop gets.
You could have the best drill press in the world, but if you aren’t maintaining it well and aren’t familiar with all of its functions, then your tool won’t serve you as well as it could. So, with that out of the way, let’s get right into it…
The connection between the spindle of your drill press and the chuck is tapered ever so slightly, and it forms a perfect fit.
Method 1: When You Have a Chuck Tool
Depending on your drill press, where you bought it, and how well you take care of your stuff… you may or may not have a chuck tool kicking around, which makes it very easy to remove the chuck. There should be a hole or an entry point for the tool somewhere along the spindle, and it’s usually just a matter of putting the tool in place, and giving it a few good taps with a hammer or mallet.
At this point, the chuck will usually fall out, so make sure it doesn’t hit the ground (or your toes).
Method 2: Improvising…
If you don’t have the little tool or key to remove the chuck from your drill press, don’t worry – you can make due without it. It’s just a matter of finding a piece of wood, or plastic, maybe a piece of an old broom handle or even a thick book in some cases… and prying it between the top of the chuck, at as steep of an angle as you can. From there, once again, you give it a few taps with a hammer or a mallet, and the chuck should pop right out.
Once Your Chuck is Removed…
Sometimes, the chuck will fall out on its own or start to feel kind of loose, and a feeling of looseness is never something you want when you’re operating power tools. Due to the very small taper of a chuck, any little bits or dirt of debris will prevent the chuck from being held in place properly. You should clean off the chuck, along with the inside of the spindle where the chuck rests.
Putting The Chuck Back in Place
Alright, so you’ve managed to remove your chuck, you’ve cleaned everything up perfectly, and you’re’ ready to put it back in place? No problem. The first step is to line it up inside of the spindle, but don’t press the chuck all the way up yet. Give a couple of inches of clearance if you can, or possible a bit more, as long as the end of the chuck is inside of the spindle.
At that point, use your strength to push the chuck up into the spindle in one fast, strong motion. From there, you should lower the platform on your press and give yourself some more clearance below the chuck. Give the chuck a good whack or two with a mallet, and it’ll be firmly in place until you’re ready to remove it again. Before hitting the chuck, however, make sure it’s fully tightened so the little teeth are inside of it, so you aren’t hitting them with the mallet and potentially damaging your chuck.
That’s it… removing the chuck from your drill press is perhaps a little bit different than you would have imagined, but now you know that it’s simple, at least. Keep in mind that sometimes they can be very stuck in there, and it’s possible that some chucks work differently, so if you don’t seem to be making any headroom, it’s not a bad idea to look up an owner’s manual and see what they say about it. There’s no shame in that.